The Guillemard Bridge (at 600m long) that spans the Kelantan River is said to be the longest train bridge in the country... The strong, black solid steel bridge connects Kursial in Tanah Merah and Paloh Rawa in the Machang district... It took The Metro Carriage Wagon & Finance Co. Ltd, Wednesbury Works, England, four years to build and was completed 84 years ago in July 1924... Named after the British Governor and High Commissioner for the Straits Settlement and Malay States at that time, Sir Laurence Guillemard, the bridge was officially opened by the late Sultan Ismail Ibni Almarhum Sultan Muhammad IV in 1925...
In December 1941, at the start of the World War II in Malaya, the British forces retreating south to Kuala Kerai, destroyed the last span of the bridge to prevent the Japanese army advancing... It remained impassable to traffic until it was reconstructed and reopened to traffic on September 7, 1948... The bridge was used by all vehicles until February 1988 when a new bridge was completed along Route 4, a few kilometres away... Since that time, the Guillemard Bridge has been used exclusively by KTM trains although motorcyclists and pedestrians are allowed to use the side passage...
The year 1988 also marked the end of the heydays of both Kampung Kursial and Paloh Rawa... Before that, the bridge brought extra income to villagers who did brisk business in nearby markets, selling fresh produce to pedestrians and drivers waiting to cross the bridge... When economic activities slowed down drastically, business slowed and many villagers migrated out of the villages...
Although in Kelantan, the people are more conservative, it is often a nice day out to visit on its waterfalls... secluded in its nature, you are able to swim and relax without a hundred tourists swanning around.
TIP: although strange for a westerner, please wear a tshirt and shorts for swimming, as baring more is considered imoral and rude to the locals.
Kuala Krai is a large village about 60 kms in the interiors south of Kota Bharu.
Nothing special here, but it is a good starting point to see the rainforest.
I spent a few hours here waiting for the train and I visited a small zoo with some local wildlife. Usually I do not like zoos, but I must say that the small animals were very well kept and with enough space. Some of them, like the usual monkeys, were free to go around. And one of them was trying all the time to take my sunglasses....
The rain forest in the interiors of Kota Bharu becomes immediately very lush and green.
The climate is hot and humid all year round and the vegetation is rich and thick, with many different trees and flowers.
Jungle trips can be organized locally from Kota Bharu or Kuala Krai.
River Kelantan is one of the main rivers in peninsular Malaysia.
It passes close to Kota Bharu and more in the interiors it flows calmly through wild thick jungle.
I heard that kayak excursions can be organized locally. It sounds great, but I would take care to avoid a too rainy day.